Don Staniford, farmed salmon activist

Don Staniford on Thursday responded to Mainstream Canada’s announcement that it is suing the anti-farmed salmon activist and his organization, the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA), for defaming the company’s fish-farming operations.

“Bring it on!” said Staniford, the organization’s global coordinator, in a press release.

In late January, Staniford and the newly formed GAAIA launched an international campaign against what it calls “Big Aquaculture.” The campaign, “Salmon Farming Kills,” employs similar graphic imagery to the “Smoking Kills” initiatives against Big Tobacco. It alleges that salmon aquaculture is harmful to both the environment and human health.

Mainstream Canada is owned by Norway-based Cermaq, one of the world’s largest salmon producers.

In the press release, Staniford didn’t mince words when commenting on Cermaq’s intention to sue him for defamation.

“Put that in your pipe and smoke it Geir Isaksen [CEO of Cermaq] and Trond Giske [Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry]!” said Staniford. “Norwegian-owned companies have blood on their hands and are responsible for the deaths of millions of salmon, hundreds of marine mammals as well as even their own workers. Cermaq’s disease-ridden feedlots have left a trail of tragedy in their wake ,especially in Chile and in British Columbia where they are spreading infectious diseases around the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Broughton Archipelago and the Wild Salmon Narrows.  Even more alarmingly, the smoking gun of the Cohen Inquiry in Canada is primed to pull the trigger on damning details of how Norwegian-owned salmon farms are spreading infectious diseases to wild salmon.

“The Norwegian government, who are the largest shareholder and controlling interest in Cermaq, must not be allowed to get away with murder in British Columbia, Chile, Scotland and at home in Norway,” added Staniford.  “Is the Cermaq board and Cermaq shareholders, including the [Giske], fully aware of the potential implications of the disease problem in Canada on not just the health of wild salmon stocks but also the health of Cermaq’s stocks?  Cermaq may be fueled by billions of dollars of dirty Norwegian oil-money, but GAAIA is armed with the sword of truth and shield of virtue and has GAIA, the goddess of Mother Earth, in our corner.  Cermaq and the Norwegian government — see you in court.”

This isn’t the first time that Staniford has been sued. Creative Salmon sued Staniford for defamation in 2005, and in 2007 the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the British Columbia salmon producer. Staniford, who at the time was a Friends of Clayoquot Sound employee, had alleged that Creative Salmon used malachite green in its fish-farming operations. Then in 2009, the B.C. Court of Appeal opened the door for a new trial, ruling that Staniford should have been allowed a fair comment defense in light of another recent Supreme Court decision.

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